Devastating brain disease caused by repeated hits on the head is first found in NRL players – and the same situation has cost the US NFL nearly $ 700 million
- The degenerative brain disease & # 39; CTE & # 39; is found in two NRL players
- The disease can currently only be diagnosed after autopsy after death
- Former trade union player Barry Taylor was previously the only known Australian case
- The Australian Sports Brain Bank was established in 2018 to investigate the affected brain
A disease associated with repeated NFL concussions has been found in the brains of two former Australian rugby competition players.
The discovery is the first time that chronic traumatic encephalopathy – or CTE – has been identified in an NRL athlete and is because the US NFL has to pay nearly $ 700 million in a mass claim.
CTE is a degenerative brain disease that has been found in former players of American football, ice hockey, football, rugby union and others who have been exposed to repeated head injuries.
The brain disease known as CTE associated with repeated concussions in American sport is now found in the brains of two former Australian rugby competition players
Researchers and clinicians from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, NSW Health and the Brain and Mind Center of the University of Sydney made the discovery in two donated middle-aged brain ex-professionals who played more than 150 NRL games for many years.
Their identity is treated confidentially.
Lead author professor Michael Buckland said the changes in the two brains are distinctive and definitive. goods.
& # 39; I have looked at about 1000 brains in the last ten years and I have never seen this type of pathology in any other case & # 39 ;, he said in a statement on Thursday.
& # 39; The fact that we have now seen these changes among former rugby league players indicates that they, and probably other Australian collision athletes, are not immune to CTE, a disease that has become so great in the United States. & # 39;
Former Manly rugby union player Barry & # 39; Tizza & # 39; Taylor is the only other case of CTE identified in an Australian athlete.
The NFL is faced with serious legal steps to manipulate and deny the science of the dangers of repeated head trauma, so many players did not know they could have CTE.
The disease, originally called punch-drunk syndrome to describe the plight of former boxers, can often lead to depression and other behavioral disorders in younger people.
Symptoms in the elderly, however, cannot be distinguished from Alzheimer's disease. It can only be determined with confidence by examining the brain after death.
The only known risk factor for CTE is repeated concussions and shocks that do not cause any signs or symptoms.
The head of the Concussion Legacy Foundation in Boston labeled the Australian study – published in the international journal Acta Neuropathologica Communications on Thursday – as a & # 39; pioneering & # 39; discovery.
The new findings are the first time an NRL player has been diagnosed, with former Manly rugby union player Barry Taylor, formerly the only other sportsman known to have CTE
& # 39; We hope that the first evidence of CTE in the Rugby League inspires the Australian scientific community to mobilize in the fight against CTE, and promotes the conversation about sport reforms that can prevent this disease, & # 39 ;, said Dr. Christopher Nowinski.
It is estimated that there is one concussion in 3.35 matches of professional rugby competition – but that percentage can be considerably higher in youth competitions, the research noted.
& # 39; Given that re-ecopsy is rarely followed nowadays, even in cases of suicide referred to the coroner, it is difficult to assess whether these two CTE cases are seradipitic findings, or characteristic of a more general problem with rugby competition and other Australian soccer codes. , & # 39; said the magazine.
More than 80 athletes have promised to donate their brains to the Australian Sports Brain Bank, founded by Associate Professor Buckland in 2018.
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